I always end up breaking one of the “rules of writing”: Do it in the morning.
I just can’t do it.
This standard advice for writers is intended to give your freshest, most creative brain over to writing. It’s also to make sure you get it done.
But I work with people who are 10 hours ahead of me, in Pakistan, so they get my mornings.
Some people get up early to write before they start work, but for me that’s when my brain needs a soft time, just visuals and feelings.
In the afternoon, my brain likes learning, math, and exercising. Plus a nap, of course.
So I end up writing in the evening. It works for me. I’m in the habit of it because of this blog. I can reflect on the day, let everything I’ve seen sift through me, and sprinkle, drift, layer onto a page.
Today was my first scheduled day of writing for my book. My plan is not to simply “sit and write 1,000 words in an hour every day,” as some schools recommend.
I set aside time in the morning to review my photos for the book – the visual time – and to draw a mind map. Over lunch, I’ll make my outline for sections from the mind map.
This part of the process is crucial. Calling across those foggy waters of memory, asking that place and time to come back.
Tonight, I wrote for two hours in 30-minute blocks to write the four sections about China. About 3,700 words, altogether.
It was hard to keep going, but then my workhorse nature stepped up to the harness. This is a only rough draft – ploughing the dirt, seeing what rocks rise to the surface, making grooves for the seeds.
The important thing is to get the field prepped and planted so that we can see what will grow.
Today’s penny is a 1993, the last time I was in China.
Featured image: Summer Palace, Beijing, 1991.